Trauma care in India and Germany

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Sep;471(9):2869-77. doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3035-2.


Background: Road traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death worldwide in individuals younger than 45 years. In both India and Germany, there has been an increase in registered motor vehicles over the last decades. However, while the number of traffic accident victims steadily dropped in Germany, there has been a sustained increase in India. We analyze this considering the sustained differences in rescue and trauma system status.

Questions/purposes: We compared India and Germany in terms of (1) vehicular infrastructure and causes of road traffic accident-related trauma, (2) burden of trauma, and (3) current trauma care and prevention, and (4) based on these observations, we suggested how India and other countries can enhance trauma care and prevention.

Methods: Data for Germany were obtained from federal statistical databases, German Automobile Club, and German Trauma Registry. Data from India were available from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. We also performed a standardized literature search of PubMed for India and Germany using the following key words: "road traffic accidents", "prevention", "prehospital trauma care", "trauma system", "trauma registry", "trauma centers", and "development of vehicles."

Results: The total number of registered motor vehicles increased 473-fold in India and 100-fold in Germany from 1951 to 2011. The number of road traffic deaths increased in both countries until 1970, but thereafter decreased in Germany (3606 in 2012) while continuing to increase in India (142,485 in 2011). The differences between Germany and India relate to the relative sizes and populations of the countries (1:9 and 1:15, respectively), and differences in prevention and prehospital care (nationwide versus big cities) and hospital trauma systems (nationwide versus exceptional).

Conclusions: Improvement requires attention to three major issues: (1) prevention through infrastructure, traffic laws, mandatory licensing; (2) establishment of a prehospital care system; and (3) establishment of regional trauma centers and a trauma registry.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • India
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Registries
  • Trauma Centers*